Posts Tagged 'Comics'

A Fan of Comic Books

By Travelin’ Jack Eichner

[Jack is an assistant editor of Harold Rabinowitz Associates, the company that produces books under the leadership of Harold Rabinowitz and which sponsors this Blog. His specialty is graphic novels and graphic non-fiction, and we expect that’s what he’ll write about much of the time—though anything’s possible.]

I am not a fan of comic books.

Let me back up.  Last week, I paid a visit to my Local Comic Retailer, a cramped and dingy affair smelling strongly of dust.  Up against the wall just to the left of the entrance was the “current issues” section.  There were something like three-hundred different books on the racks.  I took a look at the Green Lantern titles.  There were about five of them, and with Major Comic Event Tie-ins, it came more than double that.  I know that in order to have any clue about the story, one has to buy all the books in a comic “family.”  I started running the numbers in my head.  At four dollars an issue, times twelve, it would cost well more than it would to go to the movies once a week for a month, and in the same neighborhood as a basic cable subscription.  That’s just one group of titles; there were a lot of others.

You might say, and rightly so, that you can dispense with some of these books.  Even if I were ensnared in this scheme, I would still give the book with the guy vomiting blood on the cover a pass (perfectly explaining why I remain outside the trap to begin with).  The point of this is not to give an exact accounting of how much it costs per month to be a fan of monthly comics, although this plays a part.  How much brainspace, mental horsepower, would I have to expend in order to stay with the current?  I probably wouldn’t have many other hobbies.  How much chaff do I have to endure in order to get something out of what good there is (see again, blood vomiting—also adolescent masturbation fantasies)?

Back in the comic shop, I came across an adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, issue number eighteen of twenty-four.  I elected not to bother trying to find back issues in the enormous stacks of cardboard boxes; rather, I would wait for the trade edition. (Turned out they had thirteen of them. So I did buy number one.)

So here it is.  Monthly comic books, superhero comic books, are one corner of a huge art form (in a huge culture).  I read, enjoy, and appreciate many comics (enough to write about them on a blog), but the type of overspecialization demanded to follow mainstream (but nobody buys them) comics is something that is beyond (or beneath) me.  Rather, I’m all about watching how things interact with each other.

But I’m not a fan of comic books. Really. I’m not.

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